As soon as I walked into Black Market/White whatever I regretted it. I felt obligated to walk the store and pretend to look. Do you want the truth of why I went in there? I heard Michelle Obama bought a dress there. I thought I might something that made me look First Lady ready. I did not. Nothing in there but a couple of salesgirls gossiping about their co-workers. As I left the store I stopped and said a silent prayer thanking the Lord that I do not work retail.
This was soooooo depressing. The store was disheveled. The sales guy walked by me four times, one time literally running into me before it occurred to him to say hello. I came to the mall with the intention of buying this blouse at Banana Republic. I love a good wrap blouse as they give me the illusion of a waist. I am always looking for a white top that will work. I saw that the collarless long-sleeve top also came in black. I cruised the store looking for some day dresses that would make me look as good as Karen did at the Getty. No such dress to be found. I cruised the sales racks. I pulled a pair of jeans and a wide leg pair of khakis to try.
I went into the dressing room which looked like it was an adolescence bedroom, or as my father used to call it “a pig pen.” My depression deepened. The lack of a courteous sales associate and a super messy dressing room made me seriously home sick for the Banana Republic in Highland Park. I tried on my garments with visions of the North shore of Chicago dancing in my head. In the monastic like silence of the sales assistants, I remembered conversations I had with the super solicitous Chicago sales associates who inquired about which Chanel fragrance I was wearing and wasn’t my necklace from their Spring 2007 collection and how cute my shoes were. I sighed audibly breaking the silence.
The jeans were bad. Khakis were sad. Tops were painful. Let me say out loud what I already know, I look terrible in white tops. I must add this truth to the things I know about myself like: I do not do meditation tapes so do not buy them. I do not want a full-time job. If I eat pasta before 11 a.m. I am going to have a very bad self-image day. I will never look like great in a crisp white blouse—I will look like a waitress who works at Chili’s.
I arrived in the dressing room looking alright. I left looking like sh*t. I am not sure how it happened. But it did.
As I chose to buy yet another gold necklace I overheard the manager ask her subordinate dressed in black if he was planning on going to a funeral. My reaction was strong. I considered pulling out my cellphone and calling BR corporate to report her sartorial sacrilege.
I went into Gap expecting to find NOTHING. I was just stalling. I didn’t want to go home. No, not true. I didn’t want to go outside. It was hot and I didn’t park in the shade and by the time the car cooled down I would be back home. My trip to the Gap was just about wasting time. I had nothing to do when I got back home with no internet and nothing on TV and no book to read. As I reviewed the absence of items on my agenda I grew more depressed.
I found a straight black pencil skirt. I was sure it would be awful as most pencil skirts are. But, then I saw a transparent weight turtleneck that tempted me. I tried the two on and they were perfect. So perfect that I bought two of each. When I got the ensemble on I felt transported, I was no longer unemployed and living in Desperate Housewife land, I lived in NYC. I worked in art galleries. I had Salmon Rushdie’s and Jeff Koons’ phone number in my Palm Pilot. This was an outfit that required a back up.
Walking into Macy’s heightened my depression. The clothes and the sales people and the customers and….everything, it all felt so sad. I tried to tell myself that it was the fluorescent lights, or the bad Feng Shui or even low blood sugar that was responsible for my Macy’s melancholy. I walked through cosmetics and jewelry where I can usually find something to want. Nothing. I was completely devoid of serotonin and the will to walk by the time I got to the shoe department. I did three laps through the department before I found the Mark Fisher Sanjay Slingback in black.
The pictures on Macys.com does not do this shoe justice. These shoes are cute and comfortable and there is something about the way these shoes frame my feet that I feel like I could pose for a Vargas portrait. As well as being kind of sexy, they are insanely comfortable. This is how comfortable they are, I asked the sales gal if she brought me a Naturalizer or a pair of Aerosoles by mistake. She had not.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into Nine West was the guy in all black from Banana Republic. He was commiserating on the cruelty of his manager’s comment with the guys at Nine West who were also all in black. I tried to eavesdrop on their conversation as I picked up a cheetah sling. The trio in black turned into a duo when Man in black #2 asked if I wanted to try it on. I did. He brought me a box with more excessive wrapping and packaging than anything you could buy at Circuit City. It took me five minutes to free the slings from all their unnecessary packaging. Man in black #2 and I talked about the absurdity of all the packaging as I looked at how the sling made my calf look. They looked great, thanks for asking. As happy as I am about my shoes, I don’t have anywhere to wear them. I am well-heeled with nowhere to go. I try to console myself and tell myself if I get the wardrobe my life will come.
Sadly the photo of the shoe is not online. Will post photo once I get my own high speed Internet again. Oh, and Man #2 and I talked about how it would be a good idea to write a letter to 9West about their excessive and environmentally unfriendly packaging. I am sending my letter here.
The sales gals at Ann Taylor were warm and friendly
and seemed genuinely concerned how I was doing. I felt sure that if I dared to tell them the truth they would actually care.I looked for the faux leather motorcycle jacket that Leah raved about. They didn’t have it in my size and even if they did I fear that my motorcycle jacket days are behind me. I did see a cute zebra trench that I decided was just was a bit too-too and might make me look like the bottom half of a Halloween costume. Still on the hunt for something black and white and chic all over I found a gorgeous zebra belt that I tried on in the shoe department so I would have some privacy.
The sales lady, who looked like she had recently returned to the workforce after a bad divorce settlement, cooed affectionately upon discovering me in front of a mirror meant for shoes. “Isn’t that a great belt?” “Yes,” I nodded, feeling some fear that she might be thinking something cruel under her compliment. As she turned to walk away the encouraging sales assistant bent over to adjust her dove gray d’orsay pump. There was something in her action that made her seem sad, fragile and slightly unstable. I imagined that just last year she had been in my shoes, she a shopper and not a sales gal. I hope that I was wrong and fought off the impulse to ask her as she rang up my sale. As she handed me the shopping bag she looked deeply into my eyes and wished me a lovely weekend. I wished her the same and then walked to my car and collapsed into the seat. I felt a strange combination of grief, relief, and an unquenched longing as I put my car into reverse and began my drive home.